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Tonight at 10 PM ET the battle of California begins with game 1 of the Western Conference semifinal matchup between the Kings and the Sharks. This series features two teams who play different styles of hockey yet are easily capable of winning games when it matters most.

The defending Stanley Cup champion Kings have proven that they aren't "hungover" from last year's championship. Do they have what it takes to do it again? The team uses physicality and strength to wear down and overpower their opponents. They rely on big bodies to out-muscle their opponents. Jonathan Quick has established himself as one of the elite goaltenders in the game today and has been solid throughout the season and the first series. The Kings displayed resilience and persistence on the puck in their first round series against the Blues, in which they rallied to overcome a 2-0 series deficit and ultimately won in six games. Their style of play will give the Sharks the same trouble that it did the Blues.

Meanwhile the San Jose Sharks have been knocking on the door of the Stanley Cup Finals for years but they never can get there. Could this be their year? The Sharks finally have all of the ingredients to make a run for the Stanley Cup. They finally have what they have been lacking in years past: a goaltender. Antti Niemi, who won the Cup his rookie season with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, has been superb for the Sharks all year and is a Vezina Trophy nominee this season. The team plays a finesse style, relying on puck possession to tire out their opponents. The Sharks surprised many in the first round of the playoffs by sweeping the Canucks in an upset victory. They will be a difficult challenge for the Kings.

Ultimately this series will come down to depth. Expect both teams to heavily rely on their second and third lines to step up. It should be a tight series--one that will definitely be worth it to stay up and watch for East Coast viewers.

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